30 March 2013

The Age of Improvement

It's sad to grow old, but nice to ripen. - Brigitte Bardot
One of the things that gets me excited about my running is seeing measurable improvement. Physiologically, I have been on the slow downward spiral for 15 years at least, but as I've become smarter about my training, I'm becoming a better athlete.   

Back in my teens and 20's, I ran at a comfortable pace and relatively flat roads, never pushing myself too hard. I just wanted to finish whatever race I was running, be it a 10k or marathon. In my 30's, I cared a little more about speed and pushed myself on the trails and discovered that I got a bit faster without doing any real speed work. 

Case in point: 9 years after I ran my second marathon and had switched to trails I had an urge to run another one prior to getting pregnant with child #2.  With a base of one hour for my long run, I upped it to two hours on two consecutive weekends. The third weekend (Mother's Day weekend 2009) I mapped out a 26 mile looped course at my mother-in-law's house and ran my marathon in 4:45, beating my PR by 20 minutes. So much for the 4 months of training that I put in for my first two marathons...

It's cool to see myself run a 34 mile race and feel better than I did running road marathons. It's exciting to see my tempo runs knocking a full minute per mile off my average over a 10k distance. It gets me pumped to see just what my body can do after all these years. I'm inspired by the likes of Meghan Arbogast, Mike Morton, Speedgoat and other masters runners that are still posting really impressive wins. What they may be lacking physiologically they are making up in wisdom and maturity that comes from experience.

This week, I added hill repeats to my weekly training. This means going up the Incline and down the Barr, multiple times. Gonna get me some Hardrock legs!  On New Years, I did the double and realized that it was time to make it a triple. This week, I did the TITB and boy howdy, my hams felt it! But I beat my PR going up the Incline by 3 min on lap#1, and beat my PR doing the DIDB by 7 min. Cool!
TITB elevation profile
Sheila and I are in full-on spring training now with Friday-Saturday long runs. We got some sweet snaps this week retracing the Ponderous Posterior course: 
Sheila rock hopping at Red Rock Canyon
Fun on Cap't Jacks 
So this is my current training schedule, which mirrors Sheila's as she prepares for her Rocky Mountain Slam races:

Mon - hill repeats
Tues - 10k tempo run
Wed - long-ish run (2 1/2 - 3 hrs)
Thurs - rest
Fri - long run (5-6 hrs currently)
Sat - long run (3-4 hrs currently)
Sun - rest

It's Saturday night and I'm looking forward to Easter Sunday complete with church and egg hunt afterwards.  He is risen, indeed! 

Happy Trails,



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